Faith

Happy Mother's Day!

                 Happy Mother’s Day!

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of the robin who had made her nest right next to my window. I’ve been watching her ever since, and a few days ago I spied four little heads peeking up. At first I was thrilled to have such an intimate look into the world of these birds, but then I noticed that I was worrying about them. Did they have enough to eat? Was the mother safe when she ventured out to look for food (first for herself and now for the baby birds too)? What would happen to the babies if…..

I realized what I was doing and what it really meant. The question I had to ask myself was, “Do you believe that the Field of Love/God/Universal Good is taking care of those robins (even better than you could, Mary) and that worry means that you lack faith?” The truth was that I was opting for “concern” over faith. I also realized that this was how I often approached areas of life that were important to me. It is fairly easy for me to trust that all is well when I don’t feel emotionally involved with an outcome, but when I do…when something is closer to my heart, then where is my faith?

It takes some effort on my part to discipline my mind away from worry. At times it feels more natural to worry than to have faith that all is (and will be) well, but really, how could it not? Most of us were raised in atmospheres of worry (at home, church and school) and were even taught that worry was what responsible, loving, people did.

It came as quite a shock to me when years ago I had the revelation that I worried about almost everything. I worried about my weight, health, what I ate, how much sleep I was getting, what I was going to wear to events, how much money I was spending, where that money would come from, what my children thought of me and  how they would turn out having me for a mother, had I been good enough, my hair color, how much hair I had, wrinkles, how much lead was in the gasoline that I just purchased, how I would feel if ____ were elected president, how many pesticides were in the ground…..I could go on, but you get the point. I was living the Helen Ready song, “You and me against the world”, except it was really just me. How was I going to take care of everything in this difficult, complicated, sometimes cruel, world? How was I going to take care of and protect myself and those I loved?

It was a very odd moment when I, Mary Muncil, who had gone to divinity school, studied world religions, read hundreds of spiritual texts and attended more workshops and retreats than i cared to count, realized that I didn’t have faith…or should I say, I didn’t have faith in the Goodness, Perfection, and Wonder of this Universe. I did have faith that every “sin” would be punished, every mistake would be counted (and held against me) and that at my core, I was a flawed human being, but faith that everything was being done for me? Faith that everything I needed: ideas, openings, opportunities, money, and assistance of all kinds, was constantly being offered not only to me, but to everyone? From the moment I realized that this was the faith that I’d been searching for my entire life, I began to change.

In time, I’ve come to have faith that all is well, all is perfect (including you and me and the birds), and that all is being magnificently orchestrated by something (that I am also a part of but cannot comprehend with my conscious mind) for the good of us all.

Do I forget this? Yes, I do. But I know when I’ve done that because I notice that I’m worrying….and when I notice that, I try to gently bring myself back by saying, “All is well. I have faith that everything is being taken care of. All is well.”

36 thoughts on “Faith

  1. Such a perfect post to open up to today! June 2, I retire and I have forgot to let go and let God for quite a long time…thank you always….Janette

  2. You’ve described the worry machine so well, Mary. I like the idea of replacing worry with faith, and although I’ve seen this attribute in people I’ve know, I’ve never heard it put so simply. Words to live by.

    • Oh thank you, Diane…I very much appreciate your thoughts. For me, breaking it down to faith or worrying about “the outcome”, has been a life-changing revelation.

  3. What a wonderful post. When I read this:
    “Faith that everything I needed: ideas, openings, opportunities, money, and assistance of all kinds, was constantly being offered not only to me, but to everyone?”
    I realized that is where I keep getting stuck. I do see and am grateful for and celebrate all those things that come into my life, but I want to hold on to them, forever, and I worry about losing them.
    Thanks, Mary.

  4. Oh, Mary, this is such a terrific post about two big pieces of my life, faith and worry. My mom’s family, bless their hearts, specialized in worrying. I remember reading an essay by Lewis Thomas (the father of Abigail Thomas of “A Three Dog Life”) where he coined the term “transcendental meta-worry” and thinking how perfect it was for my mom’s family. There is so much we can’t control, and we hold so tightly to the things we mistakenly assume we can control, instead of releasing our worry and relying on our faith. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    • Thank you, Charlotte. I too grew up in a household where worry was a way of life. My mother (who will turn 88 this year) has begun to let go of worry and it is such a pleasure to see. Our conversations are so much deeper and more meaningful now that they aren’t centered around what could go wrong! Much love to you, Mary

  5. Thank you Mary. Once again your words hit right on the mark for me. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t worrying about something or someone. Reading your blog this morning, I was able to make a temporary (but definite) stop in that flood of ongoing worries. And if I can stop it once, I can do it again – and again… It’s all about trust.
    Peggy

    • How delightful, Peggy! Even when those thoughts stop for a moment, it is such a relief, isn’t it? I always feel like I’ve come back home when I remember to let go of worry.

  6. Dear Mary, those baby robins are precious. And perfect reminders that the very force/power that created them is always at work in our lives. BUT, how easy it is to forget that! Worry is probably my #1 lesson in this life. I have mastered the art of worrying; not something that is particularly helpful, useful nor wonderful. But like you wrote, when I can catch myself in the midst of my worry fit, and remind myself that there truly is a greater presence, a divine guidance that is far more powerful than my worries…..I can have the opportunity to choose faith instead of worry. Thank you for this beautiful reminder this morning. I really needed to hear it!

    • Dear Debra, I have to agree with you…worry was a way of life for me and for years I didn’t know why I felt so bad. What a gift (even when I too keep forgetting) to go back to the Spiritual Truth that all is well. For me, it feels like a deep breath.

  7. This is so meaningful to me that I should have it stamped on my body so I could see it every day! I find myself even worrying that I worry too much. You have such a way with words that always hit the mark at just the right time. Oh I love the baby robins and the gentle reminders with the message. As always hugs to Fred, one of my favorite internet cats.

  8. Hello Mary:

    I also went to Divinity School and I often read with pleasure your spiritual advice of dealing with our personalities. But when you touch on the problem of evil, as you do in this post, I always cringe. As a divinity student you know that the central problem of religious faith is the problem of evil, a problem not really answered by believing that everything will “work out ok.: Most baby robins will not survive to adulthood, many deserving human beings will develop terrible sicknesses through no fault of their own. I think you should be more honest in discussing evil in all its myriad manifestations.

    • Dear Alacia,
      Thank you for your heart-felt words. It is a wonder and a mystery how we can all choose our thoughts and beliefs and how they can, at times, be very different, giving each of us a unique perspective of our worlds. I deeply respect your right to see the world in a way that resonates with you and also must say that I am being honest when i say that I believe all things work for good. I didn’t always believe this way, but I do now. The one thing that I do try to do on this blog is to “be honest”! If I truly believed that there was a force of evil then I would probably write about it, but I don’t. Loving thoughts to you, Mary

    • Hello Alacia,
      I have worked with children who were born with severe disabilities. My eyes were opened my first year of teaching when I heard so many women say, “As difficult as it has been, I would not have changed a thing.”
      We become better human beings when life challenges us. We grow in knowledge and empathy and in our relationship with our Creator. We become guides to those who are being introduced to new challenges. We help them to understand that they are not the first to experience said troubles. We help the next person to know that this too shall pass.

    • Alacia, I was raised ‘in the church’, it was the centre of our lives in our community and as a young person, attended sermons as well as teaching Sunday School on Sundays. What bothered me as I grew older is the word ‘evil’ in religions and I’ve wondered if it is a reality that I’m not comfortable with or if it is diametrically opposed to hope, for without hope, for me, there is no life other than a sad acceptance. I’m still wrestling with it in my thoughts of religion. While I know what you say about baby robins and humans is true, it’s a reality we all know and perhaps don’t like to accept but I do not believe ever that this is a form of punishment from God as some believe. I believe in a loving God or Higher Power, not with one religion but many, but what I see here with Mary is always her message of positive and uplifting hope. I once had a young minister say to me that from the moment we step out of bed in the morning we sin. I told him if I believed that, I would never get out of bed. Life is very hard for many people; without hope, my spirit would die. What I like about this forum is in reading others opinions and respect all.
      It’s wonderful to have such different responses, yours included. SandyP in Canada

  9. Mary, The very most hardest thing to do for me is to let go and let ‘someone’ else take over. And yet, the greatest relief comes when I do. You’d think I’d learn, wouldn’t you. Maybe, like a client of ours this morning, who needed a reminder to call our office when she was going out as we check on seniors in a volunteer capacity every day. Her adult kids taped the reminder to her front door. Trouble was, when she opened the door, she didn’t see the reminder. Now her kids tell her they are going to tape the reminder to the steering wheel of her car. Maybe that’s what I need to remind me to turn over my heavy stuff to a Higher Power.
    SandyP, in S.Ont.Can.

    • the heavy stuff and the light stuff too, Sandy!….what I am learning is that Wisdom (which is a part of us as well) always knows which action to take, words to speak, phone calls to make, appointments to cancel, ….when I turn “it “over and trust (even over tiny things) I am always delighted in the outcome and the perfect timing and I always end up saying “Thank you”.

  10. Wow!
    This was sent to me by someone I admire and respect. Wow, Cheryl is a fantastic listener. She heard my voice, my worries, in your writing. Thank you for sharing. I needed this!

  11. sometimes i read your words and marvel. . .are you in my head, hearing everything that goes on?! amen. . . my new mantra: all is well. . . thank you, Mary. . .blessings & hugs all over you!

  12. In recent years I’ve had to consider what faith is. I come from a family of considerable worry too in addition to a fierce frugality , excessive and obsessive work, etc. It’s apparent to me that the world is not all about perfection and wholeness, good health and magnificent bodies. But I do need help in having the eyes , and humility to recognize when I have enough good health and fortune. And to have faith that a good portion of what I need will always be there. Some days it is enough that I take in the scene of a mother robin ( or blue heron or eagle) tending her hungry brood and all is safely happening for them in that moment. I sat by the Colorado river for an hour the other evening , on a scrunched up tarp in tall , wet grasses ( it had just finished raining ). I felt the warm setting sun on my back as I watched the eaglets being feed in relay by hard working parents as I gazed through binoculars. That was my peace for the day (that filled me for many days) . And I need posts such as this post today to remind me to have faith that there will always be peace and beauty enough to be found in this imperfect world full of mystery as a wise God/Universe /Spirit intended. Even if things are not perfect (or even difficult) I need to be thankful to have heart enough to be able to cherish the goodness (that is always there) to make it through … And it makes me feel more compassion for what my fellow humans go through at any given hour in this not always tidy life and earth we call home.. for now.

  13. Dear Mary, once again you have hit the nail on the head with this amazing message. As my dearest friend and I pray everyday together we constantly pray that as we bring these worries, fears, and doubts over to God in prayer that we remember to accept the peace that God has for us. And we realize it is a mind set that now it belongs to God. But that phrase “all is well”. Is really what we need to keep saying after we given it to Him in prayer So ThankYou! As I continue to say that when a little worry tries to creep into my mind!

    • Thank you, Joan. I find myself saying that very thing almost every day and I also say, “Everything works out for the best. I now line up with the highest and best in this situation” when I find myself (yet again) taking it back and worrying it!

  14. It’s been mentioned many times before, but for me, it bears repeating – “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
    ― Julian of Norwich

    I so appreciate Mary’s original post and reading all of the comments and responses from Mary are just more of a bonus. Another “keeper.”

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